How to Utilise Trends
Trends are a fantastic way to future-proof your brand and your team. By identifying emerging trends early on and understanding how they’ll impact customer needs and market demand, you can position yourself to drive growth.
By looking outside of your industry (and maybe even your sector), you can find invaluable insights to leverage and come up with innovative ideas that can push your business forward.
Of course, it’s great knowing that you should be looking at trends, but knowing the best way to approach this is another thing.
1. Picking the right trends
Start off in the right way, not everything will be useful to you, so it’s important to look at the trends that will be at the forefront of your client’s minds. Think about trends that will be affecting them, what common stressors, ideas, cultural shifts will be affecting their behaviours. This should be a good indication of what will be relevant to your own business development.
It’s also important to not spread your efforts too thin, concentrate on three to five trends and then revisit these every six months or so. Trends shouldn’t be changing more often than that, so this should set you up to only focus on what is really going to make a difference. And give you time to implement any new ideas that this work sparks!
3. Gather a range of inputs
Engage in discussions with individuals across your organisation to deliberate on the trends you’ve identified. Make sure your research is comprehensive, drawing from multiple sources rather than relying on a singular one. It’s crucial that the trends you focus on are substantial and widespread, rather than niche or minor, and should make a significant impact. Alongside your own sources, convene a team representing various experiences across your organisation; the more diverse the group, the richer the pool of ideas that stem from your trend analysis.
4. How might we…
Before we start to solve problems, we need to know what they are and how best to frame them. How might we statements are a great way to frame a problem you want to solve within your business.
Developing new areas for growth should be based on a clear question that needs answering. These questions are best framed as ‘How Might We’ statements.
You can generate How Might We statements from problems that come up in your business. We want to reframe these as questions.
Give it a go.
Formulate three key questions you would like to explore and phrase them as ‘How Might We’ statements. How has creating these informed new ways of thinking about the trends you have identified?
5. No bad ideas
With your assembled team, employ your preferred brainstorming techniques to creatively address your key ‘How Might We’ questions using the identified trends. Encourage an environment where all ideas are warmly welcomed and emphasise that there are no incorrect answers. In this nurturing and secure environment, you’ll be astonished by the multitude of fantastic ideas, or the inception of innovative concepts, that your team can generate.
6. Assess and finesse
With a bank of ideas generated it’s important to make sure that you pick out only the best to focus on. Use an effort vs impact scale to help you measure which ideas will fall in that key area of ‘least effort, for the most impact’. Narrow it down and then do further pre-mortems and planning to get your new ideas in motion.
Don’t miss out on leveraging trends and unlocking growth opportunities for your business. Contact us to discover the power of our ideation workshops.